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Denegal v. Farrell

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 30, 2017

DWAYNE DENEGAL FATIMA SHABAZZ, Plaintiff,
v.
R. FARRELL, et al., Defendants.

         ORDER GRANTING IN PART REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE (ECF NO. 28) FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO DENY DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS (ECF NO. 27) AND GRANT DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO STRIKE PLAINTIFF'S SUR-REPLY (ECF NO. 37) FOURTEEN (14) DAY OBJECTION DEADLINE

          MICHAEL J. SENG UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. Procedural History

         Plaintiff Dwayne Denegal, also known as Fatima Shabazz, is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The action proceeds on Plaintiffs first amended complaint (“FAC”) for Eighth Amendment medical indifference and Fourteenth Amendment equal protection claims against Defendants Coffin, Cryer, Lewis, and Sundaram, while Defendant Farrell is sued for medical indifference under the Eighth Amendment. (ECF No. 12.) All Defendants are sued in their individual and official capacities. (Id.)

         Before the Court are Defendants' motion to dismiss (ECF No. 27) and request for judicial notice (ECF No. 28). Plaintiff filed an opposition (ECF No. 31), and Defendants replied (ECF No. 34). Plaintiff then filed an unauthorized sur-reply (ECF No. 36), in response to which Defendants filed a motion to strike (ECF No. 37). Plaintiff objects to Defendants' motion to strike. (ECF No. 38.)

         The matter is submitted. Local Rule 230(l).

         II. Request for Judicial Notice

         Defendants ask the Court to take judicial notice of portions of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (“CDCR”) Department Operations Manual (“DOM”) and several California Correctional Health Care Services (“CCHCS”) documents, all of which are available on government websites. The Court may take judicial notice of information on a government website when neither party disputes either the website's authenticity or the accuracy of the information displayed. See Daniels-Hall v. Nat'l Educ. Ass'n, 629 F.3d 992, 999-00 (9th Cir. 2010) (taking judicial notice of school district's approved vendors publicly displayed on website); see also Paralyzed Veterans of Am. v. McPherson, No. C 06-4760 SBA, 2008 WL 4183981, *5 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 9, 2008) (collecting cases). Here, Plaintiff does not contest the authenticity of the cited websites or the accuracy of the information presented. (ECF No. 31.) Accordingly, this request will be granted.

         Defendants also ask the Court to take judicial notice of a sworn declaration filed in a separate action, Young v. Smith, No. 2:15-cv-00733-TLN-CMK (E.D. Cal., filed Apr. 2, 2015). The Court may take judicial notice of its own records in other cases. Fed. R Evid. 201(b)(2); United States v. Wilson, 631 F.2d 118, 119-20 (9th Cir. 1980) (citations omitted). However, a court may not take judicial notice of the facts contained within documents of such court records. “The concept of judicial notice requires that the matter which is the proper subject of judicial notice be a fact that is not reasonably subject to dispute. Facts in the judicial record that are subject to dispute, such as allegations in affidavits and declarations . . . are not the proper subjects of judicial notice even though they are in a court record.” Townes v. Paule, 407 F.Supp.2d 1210, 1217 n.5 (S.D. Cal. 2005) (citation omitted); see also Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 690 (9th Cir. 2001) (“[W]hen a court takes judicial notice of another court's opinion, it may do so not for the truth of the facts recited therein, but for the existence of the opinion, which is not subject to reasonable dispute over its authenticity.”) (internal quotations and citation omitted). Thus, although a court may take judicial notice of court records, it may not take judicial notice of the truth of the contents of documents therein. See M/V American Queen v. San Diego Marine Constr. Corp., 708 F.2d 1483, 1491 (9th Cir. 1983) (“As a general rule, a court may not take judicial notice of proceedings or records in another cause so as to supply, without formal introduction of evidence, facts essential to support a contention in a cause then before it.”)

         Here, Defendants seek judicial notice of a declaration filed in support of the defendants' motion to dismiss in Young v. Smith, a matter currently pending before this Court. The Court, however, has not yet issued a ruling on that motion to dismiss and, in any case, the facts alleged in the declaration in question are reasonably subject to dispute. They are thus not the proper subject of judicial notice. Accordingly, Defendants' request with respect to the sworn declaration in Young v. Smith will be granted only to the extent the Court recognizes that the document was filed in that matter. The Court declines to take judicial notice of the facts alleged therein.

         III. Defendants' Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Sur-Reply

         Plaintiff filed a sur-reply (ECF No. 36) in response to Defendants' reply in support of their motion (ECF No. 34). Defendants then filed a motion to strike the sur-reply (ECF No. 37), to which Plaintiff objects (ECF No. 38).

         In her sur-reply, Plaintiff responds to Defendants' contention that she attempts to expand the scope of her claims with respect to the types of surgical procedures she seeks. (ECF No. 36 at 2.) In their motion to strike, Defendants argue that Plaintiff's sur-reply is unauthorized and that Plaintiff failed to seek leave of this Court to file one. (ECF No. 37 at 3.)

         Parties are not typically permitted to file sur-replies, and Plaintiff neither sought nor was granted leave of Court to file one. She also has failed to give any specific reason why she should be allowed to file a sur-reply here. Accordingly the Court will recommend that Defendants' motion to strike Plaintiffs sur-reply be granted. Since the Court will not consider Plaintiffs sur-reply in makink its recommendation here, Defendants' request to file a response to it (ECF No. 37 at 3) is moot.

         IV. Plaintiff's Claims

         Plaintiffs allegations are set forth in the Court's July 8, 2016 findings and recommendations. (ECF No. 16.) As stated, the case proceeds against Defendants Farrell, Coffin, Cryer, Lewis, and Sundaram, all in their individual and official capacities, for violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The acts giving rise to Plaintiff's complaint occurred at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility (“CSATF”).

         Plaintiff claims that she is a transgender woman[1] who experiences gender dysphoria and distress due to the incongruence between her male anatomy and female gender identity. She brings Eighth Amendment claims, alleging that prison officials interfered with her treatment, delayed providing her feminizing hormones, and denied her requests for sex reassignment surgery (including, specifically, vaginoplasty), which Plaintiff believes is medically necessary to treat her gender dysphoria. She further alleges that since title 15, section 3350.1 of the California Code of Regulations (“CCR”) and CDCR's DOM § 91020.26 bar sex reassignment surgery, they constitute unconstitutional blanket bans. Plaintiff also brings claims for violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, alleging that ...


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